Prestone MSA British Rally Championship hopeful Rhys Yates will be forced to alter his pre-season plans after last weekend’s Cambrian Rally was cancelled after just one stage thanks to ice on the North Wales stages.
Originally using the event as a test for his forthcoming BRC campaign, Yates and co-driver Carl Williamson had to tip-toe through the opening stage of the event as a layer of thick ice and a dusting of snow packed the forest surface. Despite the Brettex Fiesta R5 being capable of speeds well over 100 miles per hour, Yates was forced to crawl through the stage which became almost impossible to traverse, even with the four wheel drive system in the Ford.
Starting the event at car eight, Yates was looking forward to the extra mileage the event offered before heading to the Border Counties Rally at the end of March which marks the start of his BRC campaign. The now traditional season opening Cambrian Rally was the perfect way to kick start his season’s plans but will now need to look to an alternative option.
Yates recorded a sixth fastest time on the opening test which was little comfort after the event stoppage. Luckily all was not lost for the Chesterfield ace as just the day before, the team headed to the Sweet Lamb complex for a pre-event test session which proved fruitful.
“We had a really successful test session and instantly found our feet with the Michelin tyres” said Yates. “We used the day to find a set up that I was comfortable with and I felt very at home with the car pretty much straight away. It was fortunate that we planned the test as of course seat time is vital for me this season. I think the pace of the British Championship will be pretty epic this year so I need to be at the top of my game from the first event. A good test programme is important to achieve that”.
Yates understands the organiser’s decision to cancel the event and believes it was the right one.
“It’s one thing that the competitors struggle to complete a stage but we have to think of the safety of everyone else such as marshals, spectators and officials“ he says. “That’s more important and I’m glad we saved the car and came away with no damage but I do feel sorry for all the spectators that travelled to see us in action. We will now look to either another event or more test sessions before the opening round of the BRC”.
Image courtesy of Stanislav Kucera